Following a call for stronger collaboration and partnership, the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) has embarked on the evaluation of a hybrid plantain and banana germplasm from IITA and its partners, for possible distribution to Nigerian farmers.
IITA delivered 35 new varieties to NIHORT comprised of plantain, dessert and cooking banana hybrids originating from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and the Honduras Foundation for Agricultural Research (FHIA).
NIHORT’s evaluation of the new varieties commenced with the understanding that successful evaluations will lead to the distribution of the said germplasm to farmers and other such end users.
During a visit to NIHORT, IITA’s regional breeding manager, Delphine Amah, who oversees plantain and banana improvement in West and Central Africa, said that a bilateral relationship with NIHORT, which has the mandate to work on the banana and plantain hybrid in Nigeria , was well on the cards .
Amah recalled, “In the past, there really was not much collaboration between IITA and NIHORT on banana and plantain, but in recent years we have tried to bring that collaboration to life,” while also assuring that the partnership would yield positive results.
Amah expressed delight with the level of progress made, and with the professionalism and seriousness displayed by the NIHORT team, who proceeded with the planting and evaluating process immediately upon receiving the materials.
She expressed that despite adverse weather conditions and budgetary constraints, they had shown strong commitment by planting and taking the extra step of installing an irrigation system to supply water to the farm.
The NIHORT team pledged to maintain the high-yielding, disease-resistant plantain and banana hybrids with the aim of multiplication and evaluation; farmers expect that the evaluation will deliver some productive results.